Track announcer John G. Dooley described it the best. Beach Blast had the best start and exploded to the win in the 26th running of the $83,500 Hoosier Park Classic Wednesday at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville, Indiana.
Beach Blast and jockey Juan Marquez set a new stakes record in the race, which is one of the original three stakes created during the inaugural season of pari-mutuel Quarter Horse racing in the state of Indiana in 1997, founded at Hoosier Park.
Beach Blast and Marquez got out of the gate quickly from the inside post and were clear of all opponents in the race. The duo had open lengths on the field in the first few strides of the 400-yard dash, and they weren’t done yet. They continued to increase their advantage all the way to the wire for the win by two and one-half lengths. HH CJ Shake and Cristian Esqueda moved up for second over Secret Eyes and Edgar Diaz for third.
Beach Blast was the favorite of the field, paying $3.20 for the win. The four-year-old sorrel gelding by Escondido Beach in now three for five in 2022 and has not finished off the board all year. Overall, he has 10 wins in 16 starts and increased his career bankroll to more than $400,000 in earnings. He was a $22,000 yearling purchase from the 2019 QHRAI Speed Sale by Keith Bode and Debbie Smith. Randy Smith, Horseshoe Indianapolis’ all-time leading Quarter Horse trainer, conditions the compact speedster.
“He’s just a great horse, and he always has been,” said Bode. “He’s been on top of his game for a long time. I think he proved tonight he can go another year after this one.”
Bode and his wife, Rose, own numerous Quarter Horses at their farm in Columbus, Ind. Bode also is the president of Growers Farm Service, Inc., which specializes in wholesale fertilizers for farming operations. The Bodes also are involved in other disciplines of performance for Quarter Horses in addition to racing. Beach Blast is currently the best horse they have in partnership with Debbie Smith. The gelding has now recorded five stakes wins in three years of competition at Horseshoe Indianapolis.
“We are just thrilled with him,” added Debbie. “It was quite a race.”
Beach Blast adds his name into the record books as the new stakes’ holder of the Hoosier Park Classic. The previous mark was set by Stinkin Rich during the 2016 race in a time of 19.73 seconds. Beach Blast’s time of 19.529 was just a few ticks off the track record for 400 yards at Horseshoe Indianapolis held by Tommy the Train and James Flores, set in 2017 (19.324).